zdravko maric.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP/ dk

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Thursday that the European Commission's projection of Croatia's 2016 growth outlook of 2.1% was "a good starting point", and promised that the government would do its best to accelerate that growth.

Addressing reporters after a government meeting, Minister Maric said that the European Commission's latest Winter Forecast revised upward Croatia's previous projected growth to 2.1% from 1.4%, forecast three months ago.

"If you compare this with other EU countries, this is practically the biggest upward revision. Only a few countries have been given upward revisions for their growth," Maric said, explaining that forecasts for the biggest economies such as Germany, Italy and France had been revised downward due to certain headwind risks that had been taken into account.

"We look at our projected growth rate as a good starting point, however, this is not a growth rate that we can be satisfied with not only in our term of office but also in the medium term, and the government will do all it can to accelerate that economic growth," the minister said.

Maric said that the measures he would soon outline would be directed at boosting domestic demand and improving investment activity, which he sees as the main drivers of growth in the coming period.

Asked how much the upward revision was a result of trust in the performance of the new government that took office last month and how much it depended on the work of the previous government, Maric said that it was difficult to quantify it, but added that "the revision has been definitely impacted by the new government and its promises and programme."

The dialogue with the European Commission will continue, the EC will analyse the government's measures and how Croatia can speed up its economic growth and correct its imbalances, Maric said, informing the press that he would hold a meeting with EC representatives next week and that he would attend a meeting of the EU finance ministers towards the end of next week.

Asked how much the EC's projection of the budget gap of 3.9% of GDP for 2016 was close to the government's plans, the minister said that the cabinet's target would be to have the budget deficit around 3% of GDP, explaining that the EC had stated that under the no-policy-change assumption, the general government deficit was projected to decrease to 3.9% of GDP in 2016. 

We are here to take measures that will additionally narrow the budget deficit towards 3%, Maric said.

We intend to reduce the public deb to 80% of GDP in the next three to four years, he added.

Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic today expressed satisfaction with the EC's latest forecasts.

"I am glad that they have acknowledged the government's efforts that lead in that direction (growth). Relatedly, my economic policy will actively support that policy, primarily as regards GDP growth and job creation," the economy minister said.

Asked how much the work of the previous government had contributed to the assessment from Brussels, Panenic said that the previous government had done what it considered to be best, and that the current government believed that it could do much better.

I thank them for their efforts, and we will definitely make additional efforts to intensify activities, Panenic said.

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.